Ms O'CONNOR question to MINISTER for EDUCATION and TRAINING, Mr ROCKLIFF
What is your position on the proposed corporatisation of TasTAFE? Do you take any responsibility for seven years of running down our public training provider? As an example, last year an extra $1 million was given to the Tasmanian Hospitality Association and the Tourism Industry Council Tasmania to establish a new registered training organisation. As we pointed out in Estimates last year, this money should have gone to TasTAFE.
Despite this constant erosion of funding, TasTAFE has the highest student satisfaction rate and some of the highest apprentice completion rates in the country. Interstate, everywhere TAFEs have been corporatised, there have been job losses and a decline in course quality.
As minister, how do you justify doing this to TasTAFE? Can you guarantee that under the new model, there will be no course cuts, no fee hikes and no closing down of any TAFE locations?
Madam Speaker, I thank the member for Clark for her question. Like me, the member believes very deeply in the public training provider, and it will always be a public training provider.
Those opposite might have missed the point. This is a government business. It will be more agile, flexible and able to serve the needs of industry and students. I acknowledge the good work of TasTAFE over the last number of years to achieve those high student and higher employer satisfaction rates.
I agree with the member and the Premier that seven years accreditation - the maximum amount that can be achieved under Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) - is a fantastic achievement for TasTAFE.
This is all about rebuilding TasTAFE; that is what we have been doing over the last seven years.
The difference between our agenda for TasTAFE and the opposition agenda is that 10 years ago there was no TasTAFE - you destroyed it, blew it up, so there is a lot of distrust for you lot when it comes to TasTAFE.
Ms O'Byrne - This is exactly like the Skills Institute. That is what you are doing. You cannot have it both ways.
Madam SPEAKER - Order, Ms O'Byrne.
Mr ROCKLIFF - We believe very strongly in the future of the Tasmanian TasTAFE. The public training provider is a public training provider now and it will always be a public training provider. We are continually investing in TasTAFE, which has worked hard to pay off your debt that you left -
Ms O'Byrne - You are not continually investing. You are regularly not running courses, you are regularly undermining them.
Madam SPEAKER - Order, Ms O'Byrne, please.
Mr ROCKLIFF - The facilities prior to us coming into government were dilapidated, appalling facilities right across the state. I am getting nodding heads around the Chamber. You left it in an appalling state, particularly the infrastructure, and now we are investing $41.8 million in brand-new infrastructure.
Opposition members interjecting.
Madam SPEAKER - Order.
Mr ROCKLIFF - We need to invest in our young people, in education, in training and in skills, so we can give our young people a brighter future. That is exactly what we are doing. We look forward to sitting down with all stakeholders as we implement what I recognise are significant reforms.
Ms O'Byrne - When were you -
Madam SPEAKER - Order, Ms O'Byrne.
Mr ROCKLIFF - It is important that we listen to the stakeholders, industry, the students and the student voice. It is important that we listen to the unions as well. I am committed to this, so we can collaborate and we can work together on TasTAFE's evolution.
TasTAFE has gone from strength to strength from when you blew it up in 2009-10 and bashed it all together. We have continued investing in TasTAFE and paid off your debt, and invested in the workforce, invested in infrastructure, and that will continue. There is no greater believer in public training or the future of our young people than me.
We have an infrastructure agenda, with billions in the forward Estimates to support infrastructure investment in our schools, hospitals and roads - and we need skilled young people to achieve that. We need an agile, nimble and focused TasTAFE that aligns with industry expectations, and that is exactly what we will deliver.